Tusculum students present research and art projects to faculty and staff members at Academic Symposium

GREENEVILLETusculum University undergraduate students recently demonstrated their high-caliber research and artistic skills, honed during their studies, with presentations to faculty and staff members during a special event on campus.

Sydney Byrd makes her presentation at the symposium.

The university held the Academic Symposium in the Scott M. Niswonger Commons, where more than 30 students gave 15-minute presentations, shared posters detailing their research or showed their art and history exhibits. The event was the result of months of work for the students, some of whom will continue to explore these subjects.

Dr. Scott Hummel, Tusculum’s president, said the amount of scholarship taking place among the student body is impressive. He noted the importance of a student’s collegiate education not being passive.

“One of the outstanding elements of an undergraduate education at Tusculum is the active and experiential learning opportunities our students receive,” Dr. Hummel said. “Students can conduct in-depth research and other cutting-edge classwork that will ensure they are career-ready when they graduate. Their academic work is also excellent preparation for a master’s degree program. Guiding them through this process are committed faculty members, who work one-on-one with students to help achieve their goals through well-designed projects.”

Making the 15-minute presentations were Jacque Butler, Sydney Byrd, Eirik Dahlgren, Avonlea Knode, Cole Robertsen and Maggie Vickers. They delved into ticket sales and marketing strategies, therapy methods in pediatric treatment, Masonic bibles, a national company, the romance of the human experience and the Horse Creek community of Greene County.

Nicole Bailey, Aaron Fudge, Lilliana Gall, Daniel Gongora, Gwen Gustafson, Emilie Hansen, Kaitlin Irvin, Juliana Martinez, Carli Pigza, Jared Rowland, Mark Stewart and Trystan Wepking displayed their various types of art. Their pieces included murals, photographs, drawings, magazine covers and still life and incorporated places such as the Greene County YMCA, the Rouen Cathedral and the Knoxville cityscape.

Dahlgren and fellow students Sam Bowen, Josh Grabner, Daniel Martinez and Megan Page, who are enrolled in a museum studies class, developed the exhibit “The Rare Books of Tusculum University.” This exhibit explores the origins of multiple books that Dr. Charles Coffin, who served as president of Greeneville College, a predecessor of Tusculum, collected in the early 19th century for the higher education institution’s library. The books date from the 1600s and 1700s.

Adrian Robinson stands by his poster at the symposium.

The poster presentations encompassed research on anti-cancer medications, the connection between religious experiences and mental health outcomes, emergent care within a hospital and parrot feather. Students Andrew Cantrell, Vayda Darnell, Ashley Forbes, Laura Lawson, Cristine Moore, Nate Raymond, Adrian Robinson, Konrad Sehler, Cody Webb and Billy Weekley shared their developing expertise through this activity.

Dr. Conor Keitzer, an assistant professor of natural sciences, who led the organizing team for the symposium, said the event highlights the students’ work and gives them practice presenting it in a quasi-professional setting. Students are eligible to present at each year’s symposium if they like.

“Being able to communicate to others about your work is an important skill for any discipline a student pursues,” Dr. Keitzer said. “A byproduct of participating in this event is for students to gain confidence in their research, project development and presentation skills, recognize that it is not as scary as some might think and encourage other students to participate in the future. We are extremely proud of our students who accepted the opportunity and impressed us with their ability and knowledge.”

Further information about the symposium participants’ projects is available at https://bit.ly/3ByS9kx. To learn more about the university, please visit www.tusculum.edu.